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Smart mattress automatically shifts bedfast patients

Swiss spin-off announces major funding for a bed it says could hit the market by the end of 2011 and will help prevent bedsores by automatically shifting a patient's position.

Compliant Concept

A smart bed that automatically repositions a patient throughout both day and night may soon come to market in Switzerland, according to a report on the conclusion of the start-up's first round of financing.

Michael Sauter, the young entrepreneur and mechanical engineer who came up with the concept two years ago with funding from Empa and the ETH Zurich and launched the spin-off company Compliant Concept, says an industrial partner will help manufacture the first beds, possibly by the end of 2011.

The bed essentially imitates the movements of a healthy person during sleep so bedridden patients are less likely to develop "decubitus ulcers," otherwise known as bedsores. It also logs the patient's movements to provide an ongoing account of how much the patient moves--be it independently or with the help of the bed.

The firm says that it can cost $43,000 per patient to treat bedsores, and that manual turning can be backbreaking work for caregivers, but it has yet to announce a price point or when the mattress may reach beyond the Swiss border.

The product will be joining an already healthy market of hospital beds that rotate patients, but it is different than most in that it is a mattress system that can be added to existing beds.